I am a 20-plus year resident of the village and am greatly distressed by the mayor’s attacks on the Southampton Village Police Department. The last thing I want is to transfer policing to the town. In this and in many other ways, the mayor does not seem to understand the village.
Had the mayor not tried to impugn the SVPD with his political aspirations of assigning a task force to reinterpret a valid Edmund Hartnett Risk Management report we are all capable of reading for ourselves, there would have been some merit in procuring said report.
Why do citizens need the mayor to handpick a committee to tell us what we are reading? As with any report or statistic, numbers and words can be manipulated to represent different points of view based on who is doing the interpreting.
The original report, written by the esteemed Ed Hartnett and James McCabe, simply noted a need for measures and controls to maximize efficiency. As titled, it is an “operational analysis” that focuses on three main areas: key operational and administrative policies, analyzing the SVPD budget and conducting a resource allocation study, and, finally, reviewing the SVPD Reform Committee report.
The mayor’s task force reinterpreted much of the EHRM report to satisfy their political agenda. For instance, on page 51 of the 119-page report, the EHRM team reviews the public safety dispatch program, notes the issues with overtime and sick leave, and recommends that the “well-staffed, equipped and trained” unit be brought in line with the agency and under the auspices of department leadership.
The task force had the audacity to misquote the report, using the word “egregious” to define issues in the PSD unit that were mentioned as “excessive.” The EHRM report never used the word “egregious” and did not recommend disbanding the unit and moving it to a “superior agency” located outside of the village proper.
The EHRM report did indicate that this could be a unit for seasonal as well as diversity hiring to help maintain a constant year-round complement. On page 13 of this document, Hartnett and McCabe are clear to point out: “The key to operational efficiency, however, is not found exclusively in financial austerity. The size and style of a police department and the types of services that it provides reflect the character and demands of that community.”
I believe that this sums up the value the SVPD brings to our village. It works with us and for us.
Mr. Mayor, maybe it is time for you to maximize efficiency, quit playing dirty politics and looking forward to your future political aspirations, and focus on making this village an amicable and safe place to be right now.
One fine body…